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Natural gas: Russia once again Europe's leading supplier

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<p class=Market share growth highlights the difficulty of weaning the region off Russian energy

Europe's natural gas imports from Russia surpassed supplies from the US for the first time in nearly two years in May, despite the region's efforts to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels after the all-out invasion of Ukraine.

< p>While individual factors led to the reversal, the development highlights the difficulty of further reducing Europe's dependence on Russian gas, with several Eastern European countries still relying on imports from their neighbor country.

“It is impressive to see the market share of Russian natural gas and liquefied natural gas higher in Europe after everything we have been through and all the efforts that have been made to decoupling and de-risking the energy supply,” he told the Financial Times. Tom Marzec-Manser, analyst at ICIS consultancy.

Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow has cut gas supplies to Europe and the region has increased imports of LNG, which is shipped in specialized vessels with the US emerging as the main supplier.

The US overtook Russia as the supplier of natural gas to Europe in September 2022 and by 2023 would account for about a fifth of the region's supply.

LNG catalyst

But last month, gas and LNG shipments via Russian pipelines accounted for 15 percent of total supply to the EU, UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, according to ICIS data.

U.S. LNG made up 14% of supply in the region, its lowest level since August 2022, ICIS data showed.

The reversal comes amid a general rise in European imports of Russian LNG, despite the fact that several EU countries are pushing to impose sanctions on them.

Russia in mid-2022 stopped sending natural gas through pipelines connecting it to northwestern Europe, but continues to provide supplies through pipelines through Ukraine and Turkey.

Flows in May were affected by individual factors, including an outage at a major US LNG export facility, while Russia sent more gas through Turkey ahead of scheduled maintenance in June. Demand for natural gas in Europe also remains relatively low, with storage levels nearing record highs for the season.

Temporary Trend

The reversal “is not likely to last”, says Marzec-Manser of ICIS, as Russia could this summer transport LNG to Asia via its North Sea route. He also added that this is likely to reduce the amount sent to Europe.

The transit agreement between Ukraine and Russia also expires this year, putting flows through the route at risk.

The European Commission backs efforts to establish investment plan to expand pipeline capacity on Southern Gas Corridor between EU and Azerbaijan.

A senior EU official told the FT that supplies via the route would not are currently sufficient to replace the 14 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas currently flowing through Ukraine to the EU each year.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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